"Arrogance. It's a plague that spreads its filth across the locker room."
The flickering of a barely functioning light fixture illuminates the room.
"Arrogance. It's a plague that spreads its filth across the world."
A towering, elephant sized man blacks out the grimy walls behind him. They were once white, now stained with the decay of time.
Eclipse. He is bare chested, the muscles seemingly pulsating out of his abdomen. The cuff of his pant leg is torn to shreds, but he doesn't seem to mind.
A blistered and splintered wooden sign hangs on the wall as Eclipse makes his way through the halls of the building.
PIERRE FAMILY MEAT MARKET
Eclipse swings his massive fist into the wall, unsettling decades of accumulated dust.
"Arrogance. It's the black scar that you see every time you look into the mirror, isn't it Jarvis King? You've been in my world before. You've seen The Dark Place. You've seen what I've seen. It just keeps getting darker, my friend. It's getting colder, lonelier. It's calling back to you now, isn't it? You feel it in your blood. You feel it in your bones."
Eclipse continues to pace the halls of the decrepit building, eagerly running his fingernails along the wall like a spider.
"You need to fight. You need to inflict violence, pain and suffering on to others. You are Jarvis King. It's what you do. Without wrestling, you are a ghost of a man. Without the ability to project your suffering on your opponents, you collapse. You crumble."
Bloodstained hooks and the rotted flesh of animals long past their expiration date line the corners of the slaughterhouse. A family heirloom. A family tradition. They weren't family at all. Just another symbol of another time. A time long past.
"To understand who Jarvis King is, you have to understand who Jarvis has been before. A World Heavyweight champion, a true CWF mainstay. He needs wrestling more than wrestling needs him. He finds his way back here, time after time. Waging war for the sake of waging war, until the end of time. No, he hasn't always walked that path alone. Once, he was a member of the Cyndicate brethren. Once... once upon a time ago."
Eclipse comes across what appears to be a trail of crimson red. It's moist. It's fresh. It's still warm. He drops to one knee. Reaching down, he scoops a sample of the blood into his hand and one motion splashes it into his own eyes like a viscera face wash.
"You've seen my world, Jarvis King. It's ingrained into the very fiber of your being. How do you dare to try to escape your own shadow? You know exactly who the real Jarvis King is. You know who the individual is that lies underneath the golden facade. There was once a true champion behind those eyes. A mind of cold and calculated violence. Somewhere along the way, you lost your path. Somewhere along the way, the head got a little too big for the body. They might not know our story, Jarvis King."
Eclipse lets out bellowing, echoing laughter. The cackles seem to reverberate off the walls and through the mind of the maniacal man standing in front of us.
"But you do. You know it all too well. You've seen it play out before. Time and time again, like clockwork. Chaos seems to be drawn to you, doesn't it Jarvis? Every path I take, it seems to be you standing in my way. The same old Jarvis King."
"Look into that mirror again. You may see a reflection, but I simply see shards of broken glass. I see the shards of a shattered and broken man. Once upon a time ago, you were showered with riches. You were showered with opportunties. Years pass, people change. Years pass, they ultimately stay the same. They're all the same. Carbon copies of carbon copies."
The pace of Eclipse seems hurried, every step with its own purpose as he ventures the labyrinth.
"I've seen your world, Jarvis King. I've seen life through your eyes, I've walked more than a mile in your shoes. Once upon a time ago, I walked by your side. I trusted you. I called you an ally and a confidant. I promised you salvation. I promised you the life you always dreamed of leading."
"You pissed on my boots! You proved exactly what you were in the end. You proved to be a coward and a swine. You told the world you were just doing the right thing, but you were just selfish and arrogant.
"You didn't need me anymore, did you?There's no telling what tomorrow holds. It's a battlefield, a war zone. You're going to need two sets of eyes on the back of your head to survive out there. There's no telling what voice takes control."
Eclipse flashes a wicked smile, the kind of calculated charisma. He pauses for a moment to ruffle his wavy blonde hair through his massive grip. There is sweat beading on his forehead now. The heat. The stench. Oh God, the stench...
"How's the years been treating you, Jarvis? Do the wolves of fate still claw at your limbs? Do brief instances of insanity and bloodlust still cloud your mind? I know that I'm still alive. Do you? Are you? It's a war of the living and the dead, and before we even enter the ring... I'm not sure which side you wage war for."
"You're lost in life like you've already lost this match. I would offer to be your guiding light. I would offer to be your salvation. You'll find that is a story of yesteryear. I've learned my lesson there. Have you? You'll find that treason is a bitch. You'll see the brutality in betrayal and that retribution is a blazing flame. You will find out what I found out years ago. You are Unworthy!"
Eclipse erupts in a fit of rage, overturning a cart of bloody surgical blades and scissors. His fists crash into the wall, first the left followed by his right. The shoddy foundation of the building shakes, trembling in his presence.
"You call yourself a king. When we meet at Evolution 25, you will see that thrones wither. You will see that kingdoms crumble and that names are simply a formality. You step into the ring this week against a new opponent. They think that I am a rookie. An upstart. By name, Eclipse. By name, the darkness. They thought I just died and withered away. They thought they won! So what's it like seeing life through the mirrored glass, again, Jarvis?"
Eclipse deliberately opens his eyes wide, his pupils a jet black expanse. A dozen different dark shades of grey captured to craft a landscape of its own. True chaos, indescribable but undeniable.
"What will run through your mind as you stare into the eyes of the Tormented Soul once again? All those emotions. All the anger, all the fear. All the fury, all the flame. Will we see it all bubble back up to the surface again? Once upon a time ago, you were seen of a symbol of courage. You were seen as something special once. Now you are toiling around chasing a second-rate golden trinket."
"The Paramount championship? That's an insignificant prize for our golden King isn't it? You would have been ruling the world by now with an iron fist. You would have had millions of people bowing at your feet. You would have had greatness attached to your name at every turn. You pissed it all away."
"Karma has a new face. Three heads, each with jaws as sharp as blades. It's been a long time coming for you, hasn't it? If the shoe fits, wear it, Jarvis. I will wrap my arm around your throat like an ancient amulet. I will feed you the Pacifier like a royal feast. Only until you've had your fill, King. Only until you've had your fill."
Eclipse comes to a halt in front of a giant standing meat freezer. Some may say it looks vaguely familiar. Some may say it could serve as an ice cold prison. Some may liken it to a casket. But for now, it will be known as Eclipse's destination. This is the place that Eclipse calls home.
A desolate kingdom of murder, pain and even more murder. Slaughter in the name of the people. Slaughter in the name of the king.
Eclipse wraps his giant paw around the door of the meat freezer, wrestling it open with a shrug.
"I'm the new guy. I'm the wild card around here. We all know you. We all know who Jarvis King is, we all know what he is capable of. The posterboy of cowardice and greed. What will you get when you step into the ring with Eclipse? Your sightseeing on Tuesday was merely just a glimpse.."
Eclipse spots another table of crude and decrepit tools lining the wall. He approaches the wall, each footstep more thunderous and menacing than the next. With a manic sense of glee, Eclipse snatches an iron club from the wall and makes his way inside.
"Open your eyes now, King. Open them up wide and maybe now, finally and forever more... You will see how I see. You will see the world wrapped in a cloak of flame. You will see the throne that you once deserved and cast away. You will see life flash in front of your eyes. Everything you wanted to be. Everything you failed to become."
"I am an army of one. Alliances have not served me well. Ask Jarvis King, these men and women are just out for themselves. They'll die together, or they'll die alone. It doesn't matter. In the end, it's all dust. In the end, it's all dark. The blasphemers will be the first targets. Those that have turned their backs on me will be the first to have their backs broken."
"The Paramount championship. The Beast never asked for golden wings, but if that's what it takes to get their respect... then they will see the glitter of gold as the last embers of their lives are snuffed out. It's all on you, Jarvis. The darkness is knocking on your door again. Do you dare to let it in? Do you dare to let it invade your thoughts?"
Hanging inside the meat cooler is the remains of a dead pig, swinging back and forth from a rope like a macabre pinata. Eclipse glares at the swine, swinging the club through the air like a baseball bat.
"Control. You seek control. You always have, and will forever more. How do you expect to control this match when you cannot even control your mind? Let it loose, Jarvis."
Eclipse hauls off, smashing the club into what is left of the corpse's skull. Fragments of bone and pig brains bounce off the wall and splatter on to the floor. He lights up, clearly enjoying himself.
"Relax, breathe in the smoke. Let it take you away. This is your reckoning. This is your absolution. The world is changing, yes, its changing."
The iron club quickly finds itself protruding into the rib cage of the slain animal as its chest is caved in from another impact.
"I'm ridding it of its plague. I'm ridding it of its filth."
The swine is stricken a third time. If its spine was still intact before, it isn't now.
"Starting with you."
Eclipse draws the club close before lining it up right between the pig's cold and glazed over eyes. More bellowing, echoing, maniacal laughter.
"Jarvis King versus the Tormented Soul? Again? At this point its like beating the proverbial dead pig..."
The sickening thud of another vicious impact is heard. Everything goes dark. So, so dark.
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
We are joined at the scene with Tabby Ubetcha. Ever so eager, graceful and nicer than your grandma, that's Tabby Ubetcha. You see the pickett fence. You see the beachside pool. You see the authentic sculpted statue of a Jace Valentine.
Why is she back here? Why in the world would she ever come back here?
Surely, that's the question wrestling around in our Tabby's mind in this moment. Her red hair glistens in the bright sun, a radiant smile matched only by her breathtaking eyes.
It's her job. It's her story. Determination, Tabby. The ones that get what they want are the ones that want it the most. When Tabby wears that white blouse, she can get whatever the hell she pleases. But hey, shes classy, not trashy about it. Maybe that's what shes going for here.
I mean, it's the Jacehole. To catch his attention, ya know, you gotta catch his attention.
Tabby knocks on the door, flashing her pearly white and innocent smile. Within a few minutes, Jace is there in the doorway, still plastered to a wheelchair. Jace seems a little...overexcited. He looks her over, his lip slowly creeping up until the point where he is sporting a full-on shit-eating grin.
"Eight inches." Jace says proudly.
"What?" Tabby blurts out, confused.
"Nine. Well, eight point seven five on a good day."
"I ensure you lady, my lower body still works fine."
"That's not what I am here for, Mister Valentine, and you know it." Tabby says with a scoff.
"What's your name again, beauty?"
"Tabitha Ubetcha. Tabby for short."
Jace winks at our innocent little intern. She is out of her league here, swimming with the sharks.
"Let me ask you something, Tabby. Have you ever heard of the legend that is Jace Valentine?"
"World Champion. Paramount and Academy championship runs as well, if I'm not mistaken."
"No, I'm not talking about my wrestling accolades. I'm talking about my...other exploits. Have they told you about the roller coaster ride, honey? Have they pointed you to the ticket booth for Space Mountain? One night partying like Jace Valentine parties, you won't be able to tell if they are aliens or fireflies...you will be on Planet Jace, baby!"
While Jace continues his masochistic rant, Tabby has hit her breaking point. She has turned and walked away.
Jace calls after her, almost mockingly.
"Where you going, sweetie? You leaving already?"
"You know why I came, Mister Valentine! I wanted to ask you some questions, you agreed to this over the phone!"
"Questions?" Jace shrugs. "What questions? I thought I answered all your questions! I still don't know where that sorry sack Sunset is, and I still don't care!"
"I didn't come here to ask you about Ryan. I came here to ask if you had any clues to the whereabouts of John."
"John Mapother. You met him a few times. I believe he served as a double agent within the Institute, but he was the only one to swore allegiance to Sunset's methods in the end."
Jace raises an eyebrow before speaking. "I repeat, fucking who?"
"Mapother. You have to know something about Mapother. I'm just trying to get to the answers here. That's the only purpose of my questions."
Jace seems visibly agitated at this point. He's getting heated and his face is getting red.
"You don't get it. There will never be any answers. There will just be question after question after question. That is their world. Stay out, stay away at all costs. You want the World's Greatest Advice? Stay out of that fucking rabbit hole."
Tabby slumps, seemingly defeated as she begins to retreat from the Valentine residence again.
"Asking about Ryan is one thing, coming here asking about his pet piss-ant is another. Now get the fuck off my property before I decide to chain you up to my bed and really give you a look at what life at the Institute is really all about..."
"You really are a Jacehole."
The voice comes out as a whisper, but Tabby is already gone. Needless to say, she's ready and willing to leave.
But this time, she finds no answers. Just more questions. Question after question after question.
It's not like her to give up. For she is Tabby Ubetcha, and determination is the key to success.
Try and try and try again.
John Mapother is out there. Ryan Sunset is out there. The story is out there. Tabby will find them, she has to find them.
...because time is running out.